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A Concerto For Guitar and Orchestra by Sir Paul McCartney

Click Here To See The Video

Carlos is helping Sir Paul McCartney with a concerto for guitar and orchestra that the ex-Beatle is composing. Over many meetings since the beginning of 2006 Carlos has been notating and pre-recording the guitar part at Sir Paul's studio in England.

In the 4th June 2007 issue, The New Yorker magazine reports:

" Carlos Bonell is helping Paul McCartney with some technical aspects of a guitar concerto. Bonell explained that his task in the studio is to transcribe on musical staff paper the passages that McCartney has composed on his guitar and on his computer......


How I arranged Beatles classics for classical guitar

I first heard the Beatles when I was a young teenager just as they were starting to cause a big impression. They were appearing on a BBC radio programme. I was impressed by the strange vocal harmonies of a style I had never heard before from anyone. Little was I to know that many years later, in 2006, I would be able to ask Sir Paul McCartney himself about that early material, which I did. I was in his studio helping him with the concerto for guitar and orchestra he is composing. His reply was modest in the extreme. Sitting at the piano he said:
"Well, we only knew how to play the white keys…."
So how did I go about making the arrangements? The first decision was to decide the keys in which they sounded best, and in which they are easier to play. These two are sometimes in contradiction so I took time to come to a decision with some of the songs. For example, in Lucy in the Sky with diamonds I wanted to use a lot of harmonics (high bell-like sounds) to reflect the idea of diamonds. I also wanted a very open sound for the chorus with rasgueados (Spanish-style sounding strums). The result was the key of A and a dark sounding sequence of chords in B flat, followed by the chorus in G.
Listen to the sound samples here on the website and I hope you can hear what I mean at these timed moments in the piece:
Go to the Magical Mystery Guitar Tour page, then click on :
Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds:
0” “open” sound
32” harmonics
48” “dark” sound - sequence of chords in B flat
1’10” “open” sounding chorus with rasgueados
1’35” more harmonics
The arrangement continues to develop passages with harmonics and arpeggios (succession of notes played on different strings) until the end of the song when it slips smoothly into a neo-Baroque sequence inspired by the falling bass-lines of the song.
The easiest pieces to arrange were Yesterday, Because and Michelle. The piece which took me longest was Strawberry Fields, with Somewhere a close second. I loved the little triplet idea near the beginning (Straw-berr-y / Fie-lds- for/ E-ver). It is so playful and unexpected. This gave me the idea for developing it further in the piece. You can hear the beginning of this idea on the sound sample. The lowest string is tuned down to D, with the piece arranged in G.
I hope this gives you some ideas of how I set about making these arrangements. My aim has been to make these Beatles’ pieces sound as if they had been composed as guitar solos. If you agree, then I will have succeeded.

Executive Producer: David Young
Some very Interesting and funny Letters from Derek Taylor

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